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Official Publication of the N.C. Department
VFW of North Carolina PO Box 25337 Raleigh, NC 27611-5337
Non-Profit Org US Postage PAID Rermit No. 1838 Raleigh N.C.
H OLD T E FUTU RE
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
Inside: • Pg. 2 - Band4Good • Pg. 3 - Officers Columns • Pg 13 - VA Claims • Pg 14 - Mail Preference • Pg. 4 - VFW Advocacy • Pg15 - Stolen Valor Act • Pg. 5 - Local Sister Soldiers • Pg16 - Benefits • Pg. 6 - Presidents Column • Pg. 11 - All American Ride & Glide • Pg. 12 - Guitars for Vets
VOLUME NO. 76
THE VFW LEADER
Allis and Cacoulidis Take Command of the Department
Ernie Allis of Harrisburg, a comrade of Charlotte Post 9488, and Penny Cacoulidis of Raeford, a sister of Fayetteville Auxiliary 670, were elected as State Commander and State Ladies Auxiliary President for 2013-2014 at the Department of North Carolina's 83rd Annual State Convention in Greensboro on June 8th. The convention was held at the ultra-modem, atrium-style Embassy Suites Hotel at Exit 210 off 1-40, and was praised by many comrades, sisters, and brothers as the finest convention they had ever attended. Also elected on the comrades' side of the house were Jack Goin of Calabash as Senior Vice Commander, Jessie Bellflowers of Hope Mills as Junior Vice Commander, Bruce Edwards of Raleigh as Quartermaster, Dean Harris of Newland as Judge Advocate, Chris Sikes of Wilmington as Surgeon, and Steve Smith of Jacksonville as Chaplain. Appointed to the other major positions at the Department level were Bruce Edwards as Adjutant, Gene Kent of Sparta as Chief of Staff, Glen Phelps of Southern Pines as Inspector, and Cleo Summers of Winston-Salem as State Service Officer. Most of the offices were uncontested elections, except for Junior Vice Commander and Surgeon. In a very close race, Jessie Bellflowers, the outgoing District 8 Commander, narrowly defeated Steve Amos, the outgoing Chief of Staff, and Victor Letoumeaut, the outgoing District 4 Commander. In another tight race, Chris Sikes, who was finishing up a term as the District 5 Commander, defeated sitting Surgeon Saundra Clagett. On the Ladies' side of the house, the following Ladies were elected: Janice Holm of Brevard as Senior Vice President, B. Mae Harris of Fayetteville as Junior Vice President, Fran Redfield of Calabash as Chaplain, and Joyce Preston of Tryon as Conductress. Eileen Wokosky of Swansboro was elected as the new Guard . For the first time in a historic move, the Men's Auxiliary State Advisory Council was approved by the VFW Council of Administration, and it elected Jimmy Hinesley of Southern Pines as its own President. The concept was approved for this Advisory Council to supply the State Commander and VFW Council of Administration with advice and information on Men's Auxiliary concerns, and to conduct fund-raisers at the Department level. The Convention itself was a tremendous success from start to finish. The outgoing Council of Administration met on Thursday, June 6th, and finished old business. These business matters included the approval of the Men's Auxiliary Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), several changes to the State Canteen SOP, which will be posted on the state website for downloading, and a recession of last February's Council vote to halt the Department's partnership with American Income Life Insurance Company. As of June 6th, the partnership with American Income Life was renewed, and so all comrades in the state remain covered for an extra $2500 in Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance (in addition to the small $1000 AD&D free policy proved to each comrade by the VFW). On Friday, the 7th, the day started with the recognition by the Department of the 2012-13 Scout of the Year, Shaun Jones, who attended with his parents. The Joint Session, which followed this presentation, featured Executive Director Michael Dakduk of the national Student Veterans Association (SVA). The VFW has concluded a National partnership with the SVA in the hopes of helping young veterans currently attending school under the GI Bill of the 21st Century. Also speaking were Chief of Volunteer Services Ronni Miller of the Durham V A Medical Center, Medicare Expert Charlie Sloan, and District 12 Commander John Troutman, who recited a moving poem, called "I Was A Soldier," that he had composed himself. The remainder of Friday included meetings of the three Conferences (Eastern, Central, and Western), and many committee meetings and seminars. On Saturday, various awards were presented, to include the All State District and Post Awards. Chosen for All State status were Districts 4,5, 7, 8, 9, and 17, which was the largest number of All State Districts in many years. Chosen for All State Post were Raeford 10, Fayetteville 670, Indian Trail 2423, Spring Lake 4542, Morganton 5362, Fayetteville 6018, Concord 6480, Haysville 6812, Sparta 7034, Havelock
Ernie Allis, State Comander 7315, Whittier 8013, Jacksonville 9133, Charlotte 9488, Swansboro 9960, Holly Ridge 9983, Raleigh 10001, Gamer 10225, Boiling Springs Lake 10400, and Hope Mills 10630. Nominations for state office were conducted in the morning, and the election and installation in the afternoon. Past State Commander Elree Smith installed new Commander Allis and the other Council members. That evening, the comrades, sisters, and brothers were delighted and stunned by a bravura performance by Dolly Parton impersonator Wynonah Dove. Ms. Dove's superb singing and acting fit in perfectly with the Installation Banquet's theme of the Wild West. The collected cowboys, cowgirls, and Indians cheered and laughed continuously, showing their approval.
Penny Cacoulidis, State Ladies Auxiliary President On Sunday morning, the incoming Council of Administration conducted new business, to include approving the 2013-14 state budget, and agreeing to become partners with the Doing Good Network and agreeing to opening communications with the American Ride and Glide event. Separate stories in the edition of the newspaper are included on the Doing Good Network and the American Ride and Glide event. Near the end of the Sunday morning business session, Steve Amos of Walkertown and Russ Burleson of Mars Hill both declared they would be running for State Junior Vice Commander for 2014-15.
Post Training Set for Aug. Saturdays
The Department of North Carolina will conduct its annual "Flying Squadron" post and auxiliary training on the three middle Saturdays in August - the 10th for the posts in the Eastern Conference, 17th for the posts in the Central Conference, and the 24th for the posts in the Western Conference. The Eastern Conference contains all the posts and auxiliaries in Districts 1,2,3,4,5, and 7. The Central Conference includes all the posts and auxiliaries in Districts 6,8,9, 10, and 12. The Western Conference contains all the posts and auxiliaries in Districts 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17. All District Commanders, District Quartermasters, District Presidents, and District Treasurers are required to attend their Conference session. Post Commanders, Post Quartermasters, Auxiliary Presidents, and Auxiliary Treasurers are strongly encouraged to attend. All other comrades, sisters, and brothers may attend if they wish to become educated in the procedures and operations of the various organizations that constitute the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The Eastern Conference "Flying Squadron" training will be all day long beginning at 9:00 a.m. on August 10th at New Bern Post 2514. It is located at 3850 S. Butler Road in New Bern. The Central Conference training will be all day long beginning at the same time on August 17th at Sanford Post 5631, located at 1500 Webb Street, Sanford. The Western Conference, like its two counterparts, will conduct all-day training beginning at 9:00 a.m. on August 24 at Hendersonville Post 5206, located in downtown Hendersonville at 900 N. Main Street. Lunch will be provided free of charge to all attendees. These three Flying Squadron sessions take the place of the District schools of instruction required in the National By-Laws and Manual of Procedure. It is absolutely vital that as many commanders, quartermasters, adjutants, presidents, treasurers, and secretaries as possible take this training. Reimbursement procedures are as follows: District Commanders/ Quartermasters and Presidents/ Treasurers will receive driver reimbursement for up to two vehicles per district at $.30/mile from up to two central locations (since these officers frequently do not reside close to each other). Post Commanders/Quartermasters with one or no Auxiliaries will receive driver reimbursement for one vehicle at $.30/mile from the post home, and posts with two Auxiliaries will receive driver reimbursement for up to two vehicles at $.30/mile from the post home if both Auxiliaries attend. Reimbursement forms will be available at the training site. Attendees will not be reimbursed for any hotel costs or meals. The projected schedule for each Flying Squadron session follows: Eagle Scout Shaun R. Jones of Boy Scouts of America Troop 29 of Raeford was awarded the Department of North Carolina's Scout of the Year Award at the Department's annual state convention recently in Greensboro. Fifteen young people competed for the award, determined by State Scouting Coordinator Terry Middleton and his committee, to include four Girl Scouts. Shaun was sponsored by VFW Raeford Post 10, commanded by George Balch. A member of both Cub Scout Pack 29 and Boy Scout Troop 29 for 11 years, Shaun battled his way to Boy Scouting's top rank, that of Eagle Scout. In that troop, he has served as Chaplain's Aide, Quartermaster, Scribe, Patrol Leader, Troop Guide, Senior Patrol Leader, and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. He has earned many special awards, to include to the Arrow of Light, the Fireman Chit, the Historic Trail Award, the Camp Bower award, the Religious Emblem, the Fall Camporee award, the Totin Chip, the Flag Ceremony award, and the U.S. Heritage award. In addition to these he earned 61 Merit Badges! Shaun also excelled in his school, Massey Hill Classical High School in Fayetteville. He attained a 5.0 cumulative weighted Grade Point Average (GPA) and a 4.0 cumulative unweighted GPA - which translates as "Straight A's." He was ranked 1st in his academic class, and served as Student Body President in his senior year.
Visit Your Post's Website
Every post in North Carolina has their own website. It takes a minute to visit your post's site. Just log in to: www.vfwwebcom.org/northcarolina
Page 2 THE VFW LEADER
The VFW Leader is published quarterly by the Department of North Carolina Veterans of Foreign Wars at 917 New Bern Avenue, Raleigh, North Carolina. Editor.......................Bruce Edwards News stories, photographs and other matters for publication should be addressed to Editor, VFW Leader, P.O. Box 25337, Raleigh, N.C. 27611. Correspondence regarding subscription and circulation should be addressed to VFW Leader, P.O. Box 25337, Raleigh, N.C. 27611. "Department Headquarters normal operating hours 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Closed for holidays: New Years Day, Martin Luther King's Birthday, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day."
THE VFW LEADER
VFW Dept. NC Student Scholarships
Recent high school graduates Noah W. Ponton of Wilmington and Tamara D. Gatlin of Vanceboro have won the Otis N. Brown and Billy Ray Cameron college scholarships in 2013. They were chosen among twelve applicants who completed an entire packet of paperwork and were eligible for the scholarship. In order to apply for these scholarships, which pay $1000 per year for four years, the student must be: (1) be a high school senior, (2) be planning to attend a North Carolina college or university, and (3) be a close relative of a VFW comrade or Ladies' Auxiliary sister (son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter). Noah Ponton is the son of Charles E. Ponton and Wanda C. Ponton, and graduated from Isaac Bear Early College (high school) in Wilmington. He is eligible for the Otis N. Brown scholarship through his grandfather, William J. Costin of Warsaw, a member of Warsaw Post 9810. He has applied to and been accepted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he hopes to major in political science.
Letters to the Editor
PARTNERSHIP BENEFITS 6 June 13 MEMORANDUM FOR Dept of VFW Commanders SUBJECT: Medicare Chairman Summer Conference Report 1. The VFW VA/NC Partnership was established in 2005 to provide a onestop information source for all areas of Medicare health and drug coverage for our 40+ thousand comrades and sisters. Since then, we have been an advocate for helping guide thousands of them in choosing health and drug plans that best fits their needs. More importantly, they have someone they can rely on 24/7 when they need help working through complex medical/prescription billing issues. 2. Biggest issue so far this year is the skyrocketing cost of Medicare Supplemental insurance. For many years, premium increases to these policies would normally be in the 2-5% per year range, howevFriday, April 12, 2013 Dear VFW Member: This year over 50,000 of our VFW members will be turning 65, making them eligible for Medicare. I am writing to remind you that the VFW has selected Humana, one of the nation's largest healthcare companies, as its national Medicare Advantage plan provider. Humana has a long history of excellence in military health care services, and is deepening its commitment to provide innovative health care solutions for active duty, retirees, their families and continued support of veterans' programs. Humana Government Business has evolved as the subsidiary providing administrative services, integrated healthcare and wellness solutions to military and veteran populations. Humana Military has been an administrator of the TRICARE program for the Department of Defense(DoD) since 1996. Since 2007, Humana Veterans has developed solutions to health are issues for the Department of Veteran Affairs (V A) and the veterans who rely on V A services. During the past year, Humana launched the Humana Veterans Initiative as part of a plan to help veterans and their family members achieve and maintain lifelong well-being. There are several key parts of the initiative: On January 29, 2013, Humana announced it FOR MEDICARE er, we have been seeing 10-40% increases, due to current low interest rates for investment and anticipation of looming cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates. To help find cheaper rates for our comrades & sisters, we now have access to a national database that is updated regularly that will list all of the Medicare Supplements in a particular zip code and their current pricing. We can simply print out the list and send it to anyone needing help finding a cheaper plan premium. This data base is an outstanding addition to our tool kit, as we are now routinely saving our members hundreds of dollars a year by finding the same coverage at a cheaper premium. Call Comrade Charlie Sloan or Jeff Magg anytime at 1-866-633-2226 for assistance. Charles E. Sloan Partnership Chairman
Tamara Gatlin is the daughter of Daryle J. Gatlin (deceased) and Tracy Carol Gatlin Hunnings of Vanceboro. She is eligible for the Billy Ray Cameron scholarship through her grandfather, Clarence O. Gatlin of Vanceboro, a member of Vanceboro Post 11119. Tamara graduated from the West Craven High School, and will attend East Carolina University in Greenville, where she will study biology/pre-medicine.
The two Department of North Carolina scholarships are named after North Carolina's two past National Commanders-in-Chief, Otis N. Brown, who served in that high position in 1939, and Billy Ray Cameron, who was Commander-in-Chief 1984.
Department Signs On To Bands4Good Challenge
A "Bands4Good Challenge", similar to the popular American Idol competition, will be conducted by the Department of North Carolina and other patriotic organizations from September 29 through November 24, 2013 in order to raise money for our many good causes. Organized by the Doing Good Network, the event was approved by the Department Council of Administration at the annual State Convention on 9 June. Participating in the Challenge along with the VFW are the Patriot Foundation, the Special Forces Association, Rolling Thunder of North Carolina, the Vietnam Veterans of American (VVA), the Patriot Guards, and Purple Heart Homes. The Challenge is essentially a music competition, using local artists and supporting Veterans' causes. North Carolina musicians are recruited and challenged to write, perform, and record an original patriotic song with lyrics and video the speaks directly to veterans' causes. These videos are posted on the Doing Good Network's (DGN"s) Bands4Good Challenge website, and the competition begins. Together, as teams, the musicians and cause-supported partners (the VFW included) engage their internet
social networks and compete against similar partners in a virtual, interactive, American Idol type "donateto-vote" global fundraising event. Votes can be purchased in packages such as: 5 votes for $5, 20 votes for $10, 100 votes or $50, and so on. All purchased votes are paid into, accounted for, and distributed by the 501c(3) Doing Good Community Foundation, Inc. In this way, VFW supporters (not just VFW members) will know their donation is secure and they will receive a tax deduction as well. Each organization, to include the VFW, will have a code built into the voting website to insure that monies donated by VFW supporters come back to the Department. Each music video is then ranked by the number of votes it gets, the judges' ratings, and he amount of dollars raised from votes for that organization. The more fans that vote, the more exposure the support group receives and the more dollars they raise. The competition builds to a 'live" webcast concert by the semi-finalists, which gives the VFW supporters a final chance to push their favorite video into the top spot and raise more money.
The trick to the Department raising a large sum of money is for all comrades, Auuxiliary sisters, and Auxiliary brothers to engage their social network, such as all their 'friends" on Facebook, in the hopes those internet contacts will participate. Supporters do lot have to live in North Carolina to participate. In the end, the winning musicians get new fans and significant music industry exposure n their bid to "hit it big," and the Department gets at least 70% of the dollar amount of purrchased votes their supporters have generated. Additionally, the top 3 veterans' organizations generating the most purchased votes qualify for a matching grant that can push the total dollars received to 100% or more of the purchased vote revenue they generate. Comrades, Auxiliary sisters, and Auxiliary brothers will hear more about this revolutionary, internet fund-raising event through their districts, posts, email, and The VFW Leader. When ready, all members need to engage their social networks to make this a success.
exceeded its goal of hiring 1,000 veterans and/ or their spouses by mid-2014. The company is committed to hiring another 1,000 veterans and/or their spouses during the next two years. In 2011, Humana contributed $1 million to the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities. The program offers cutting-edge, firsthand training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities resulting from their service. Humana supports the Yellow Ribbon Program which provides support and education for veterans. As a leading national healthcare company, Humana has a wide variety of Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug plans. You soon will receive information from Humana so you can find out more about its products and services, and what it's doing to help our veterans. You also can call 1-800-526-5344 for more information. TTY users, please use 711, Humana is a Medicare Advantage organization and a stand-alone prescription drug plan with a Medicare contract. Sincerely, Robert B. Greene, Quartermaster General Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.
Getting the Word Out
Chapel Hill - Lee Heavlin, blogmaster Does your post have an identity problem? Do you do a lot, but the local paper ignores you? Do your post members miss out on what is going on because they don't get to meetings? If yes, you are not getting the word out. What can a post do? Go into the publishing business and start its own newspaper to publish post stories. A post can use the VFW NC Department website that is provided to each post at no cost. Posts can use the information now flowing in emails. News coming in to the post commander, adjutant, quartermaster can be cut and pasted into a news story for the web. Stories on post websites are monitored and picked up daily for state-wide distribution. When post stories are broadcast by the state, every subscriber gets to see what is going on at another post. If a post in Durham is hosting a special event or a veterans' stand down, everyone gets the information. Your event may encourage other posts to try the same thing. Local newspapers and radio stations troll the web for veterans information, people to talk to, people honor, and for participants in patriotic events. Post stories are often selected to be reprinted in local papers as letters to the editor or opinion pieces. Our views are important! Local schools have patriotic projects and students look to the internet for information on flag retirements, holidays, the history of local veterans and more. What is on the web about your veterans? Another added benefit that is millions of people have the opportunity to view what you are writing. Did you know that a short Calabash story on Tuskegee airmen gets read about 300 times a day and this has been going on for about a year! Our VFW web sites are getting read! Post web sites also put a face on a local post. This is invaluable to students seeking information on a post to submit their Voice of Democracy, Patriot's Pen, or Scouting Scholarship application. Some posts report that they get inquiries from Virginia and Tennessee from North Carolina students away at boarding school. Their home is here and they need to submit an application. VFW Post web sites were given a new look two years ago. Adding information is easier and we use WordPress as the software of choice. We load the software on a central server and give each post a template and space on the server. There is absolutely no cost to the posts. No fees for access and no monthly charges for server use. Some posts are worried about the complexity of using their website. If someone can create email, then the post has the talent needed. Also, the system is designed to be passed on to another post member to manage. We just grant access and all existing information stays on-line and just as it was before the blogmasters changed. Want more information? Just look at the state website at http://vfwnc.org and look under TOOLS for details on the post websites, how to use them, and how to add impact to your post stories. You will also find information on how to gain access and a password. Are you ready to put on your editor's visor and start your post on-line newspaper?
STEPHEN AMOS, USMC RETIRED Candidate for Jr-Vice Commander 2014-2015
In 1982 I accepted the most important and only permanent title the VFW has to offer, that of Comrade. Regardless of what position you are appointed or elected to we are all Comrades. Elected officers should be there to assist the Comrades at whatever level they are elected at. The goal of every elected officer should be to leave that position in better shape than it was when they were elected. To accomplish that goal you must have the support of the Comrades at the Post and District level. Your state officers should travel the state to visit District’s and Post. The best way to encourage Comrades to work membership and the core programs is to get out into state and work with them. The most important thing about being a Comrade in the VFW is to “honor the dead by helping the living”. With the support of the Comrades of our Department, I will do everything I can to help all Comrades live up to that motto. No one does more for Veterans than the Comrades of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Thank you for your support.
State News Subscriptions
Posts throughout the state are publishing stories about local activities. Are you getting to see them? Everyone is encouraged to subscribe to the free on-line Veterans of Foreign Wars North Carolina News feed. It is easy and will ensure that you will know what is going on around the district and around the state. Local news items get published by individual posts and the state website locates new news items for broadcast as subscription news. It is All My VFW NC News. How do you subscribe? Just go to the state website and scan down to the subscription box. Visit http:// vfwnc.org and look for:
Enter your email address to receive news from the My VFW NC Website Subscribe FOR A SPOT ON THE LEADER, VISIT THE NC WEBSITE SCAN HERE
THE VFW LEADER
another's point of view. Educate. Make sure you and those serving your post are up-to-date on the bylaws and participate in the educational sessions offered at the Flying Squadrons and C of A meetings. Help one another with what you have learned. Spread the word in your communities and educate the public about your VFW. Advocate. Our mission to support veterans and their families is unchanged. We exist to help our comrades, and have a collective voice for veterans' issues in Washington, lest they forget. Based on the US population, only about 1 of our citizens have ever served in harm's way. We shall not fail them. Now, don't get too comfortable thinking these basics are the only goals we have this year. These three things are simply the framework by which we will guide ourselves before we begin the real work of our state and national initiatives. We will talk more about those initiatives in future meetings. Serving as your commander required that I step down as your Budget Committee Chairman. I have appointed a new chairperson, who also serves as your Senior Vice Commander, Jack Goin. All of our fine committees and the dedicated committee persons will continue to work for you, resulting in another banner year for our state. Remember, the meetings are open to VFW members. Stop in to gain a better understanding of what is going on. I assure you it will not be wasted time. In closing, I ask that you become fully engaged in communication, which requires listening as well as talking, education, which requires learning as well as teaching, and advocacy for our veterans, which is why we exist. I look forward to serving with you. Yours in comradeship, Ernie Allis
many posts and meeting so many post, Ladies Auxiliary and Men's Auxiliary members. The work that you have accomplished in your posts, in the communities that you reside in and working for veterans is fantastic. Congratulations to all those post and district commanders that have achieved all state or all American status. I had the extreme pleasure of visiting our national home for children in May and what a rewarding experience it was. To meet and see the dedication of all the staff was overwhelming. I would encourage all members to visit at some time to see the set up there and see where your post and district contributions go. tronic reporting system for all the activities that your post partakes in. This past year 70 of all our posts in North Carolina used the system. Commander Allis and your line officers would like to see that number at 100. Don't use the excuse that no one in your post or district doesn't know how or doesn't have a computer, take credit for what you do and your accomplishments. Don't forget our department newspaper the "Leader". Send in your pictures and articles, share what you are doing. Toot your own horn, maybe what your post did will entice another post to undertake a project.
SR. VICE COMMANDER COLUMN
ERNIE ALLIS Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as commander of this great organization. I will do my utmost to provide leadership that lives up to your expectations. I am excited about the year ahead of us. We will build on the legacy of our past, while providing a future legacy for those who will come after. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Commander, Ted Briggs, for his unwavering support and tireless efforts, and all past department commanders for their leadership that has sustained us to this day. Despite any challenges we may have ahead, there have been numerous accomplishments made by our members, officers, district, and post commanders. I have had the privilege of talking with many of you who inspire me with your enthusiasm and dedication to our VFW, our mission, and our future. In meeting our goals this year, I would like to share three main points that are essential for our continued success. Communicate. We have the technology tools in place, and should not overlook how using that technology can keep us informed and focused on the important issues. Aside from technology, attending post and district meetings is an important part of the communication process. Make a point of speaking with someone you have not met before and listen to one
JACK GOIN Comrades I would like to thank each member of our great VFW organization for electing me as your senior vice commander for the coming year. It will be a great honor to serve you and all veterans as we move forward. This past year your line officers have been extremely busy, traveling our state and visiting
Thank you, commander Ted, for allowing me to serve under you as your junior vice commander. As we move forward to the coming Your "bull dog" has learned some year don't forget in August we will important lessons as I move forhave our flying squadron train- ward these next two years. ing, which was so successful last Thank you my fellow veterans for year. The training is mandatory as your service to your country and per our regulations so if the com- the VFW. Let us all have a successmander can not attend either the ful 2013-2014 year. senior or junior vice should attend as should the quartermaster and Yours in comradeship representatives from the ladies aux. Jack Goin Also, let's strive to utilize our elec-
DEPARTMENT SURGEON'S COLUMN
flowing to the heart or brain. The most common reason for this is a build-up of fatty deposits on the inner walls of the blood vessels that supply the heart or brain. Strokes can also be caused by bleeding from a blood vessel in the brain or from blood clots. What are the risk factors for cardiovascular disease? The most important behavioral risk factors of heart disease and stroke are unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol. Behavioral risk factors are responsible for about 80 of coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease. The effects of unhealthy diet and physical inactivity may show up in individuals as raised blood pressure, raised blood glucose, raised blood lipids, and overweight and obesity. These "intermediate risks factors" can be measured in primary care facilities and indicate an increased risk of developing a heart attack, stroke, heart failure and other complications. Symptoms of heart attacks and strokes Often, there are no symptoms of the underlying disease of the blood vessels. A heart attack or stroke may be the first warning of underlying disease. Symptoms of a heart attack include: pain or discomfort in the center of the chest; pain or discomfort in the arms, the left shoulder, elbows, jaw, or back. In addition the person may experience difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath; feeling sick or vomiting; feeling light-headed or faint; breaking into a cold sweat; and becoming pale. Women are more likely to have shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
I would first like to thank all of the comrades who came out and made our state convention a success. I am going to start a series of columns that appear in the leader concerning healthcare matters. My first article is going to be about heart disease. What will likely kill you? Heart disease is the most common cause of death in America. It is estimated that the number of people who will die from heart disease will reach 23.3 million by 2030. WHAT IS HEART DISEASE? Heart disease is also known as cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and they are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels that include: coronary heart disease - disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle; cerebrovascular disease - disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain; peripheral arterial disease - disease of blood vessels supplying the arms and legs; rheumatic heart disease damage to the heart muscle and heart valves from rheumatic fever, caused by streptococcal bacteria; congenital heart disease - malformations of heart structure existing at birth; deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism - blood clots in the leg veins, which can dislodge and move to the heart and lungs. Heart attacks and strokes are usually acute events and are mainly caused by a blockage that prevents blood from
the Year at this past Department Convention. I received a good showing of letters of recommendation of hard working VFW Chaplains within our Department. It made the judges work hard to choose a Chaplain. With your assistance, I hope to make them work even harder this year. It is possible we could award an Eastern, Central, Western, and District Chaplain of the Year at the next Department Convention. This can happen, only if we get the word out and the letters in. The deadline for submission for this year's Chaplain of the Year will be at the close of the Winter CofA. Let us continue to recognize the hard working Chaplains within our Department. We begin new VFW year with new faces. New challenges will come up (as each year does), but we still have many of the old challenges. I pray that all have a successful and blessed year in office. Peace be with You SR Smith We awarded the first Chaplain of
SR SMITH When you read my articles and when they are written are months apart. This submission was written directly after the Memorial Day weekend. By the time you are reading this, the Department Convention has come and gone. If you are reading my article, then I was reelected. Thank you. I will continue to do my very best to both represent and serve my Comrades and Sisters in this Department. I enjoyed last year and pray to improve this year.
The most common symptom of a stroke is sudden weakness of the face, arm, or leg, most often on one side of the body. Other symptoms include sudden onset of: numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body; confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding speech; difficulty seeing with one or both eyes; difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; severe headache with no Cessation of tobacco use, reduction of known cause; and fainting or unconsalt in the diet, consuming fruits and sciousness. vegetables, regular physical activity and avoiding harmful use of alcohol have Anyone experiencing these symptoms been shown to reduce the risk of car- should seek medical care immediately. diovascular disease. The cardiovascular As a patient it is our responsibility to risk can also be reduced by preventing live a healthy lifestyle and have regular or treating hypertension, diabetes and checkups. It is recommended you have a checkup every 6 months. You increase raised blood lipids. your chance of heart diseases tenfold by Policies that create conducive envi- using tobacco, unhealthy diet, lack of ronments for making healthy choices physical activity, diabetes and eating an affordable and available are essential unhealthy diet. for motivating people to adopt and We all know that the proper diet and sustain healthy behavior. weight loss is a major challenge for all There are also a number of underlying of us. We have to start somewhere in determinants of CVDs, or "the causes order to make a change. I will challenge of the causes". These are a reflection everyone of you to take 30 minutes out of the major forces driving social, eco- of your day and talk a walk outside. nomic and cultural change - global- That 30 minute walk might give you ization, urbanization, and population another 30 years of life. ageing. Other determinants of CVDs include poverty, stress and hereditary Chris Sikes Department Surgeon factors. WHAT ARE COMMON SYMPTOMS OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES?
THE VFW LEADER
National HQ has created the following national legislative priorities for the 2013 year. Please contact your federal lawmakers to ask for their support on these key issues.
Two Korean War MIAs Recovered
The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced the identification of remains belonging to two soldiers who had been unaccounted-for since the Korean War. Were recently identified and will be returned to their family for burial with full military honors. Identified were: Army Pfc. Ernest V. Fuqua Jr., 21, of Detroit, was buried January 15, in Rochester Hills, Michigan. In late November 1950, units of the 35th Infantry Regiment and allied forces were deployed in a defensive line advancing across the Ch'ongch'on River in North Korea, when Chinese People's Volunteer Forces enemy forces attacked their position. American units sustained heavy losses as they withdrew south towards the town of Unsan. He was listed as killed in action on November 28, 1950. Army Pfc. Glenn S. Schoenmann, 20, of Tracy City, Tennessee, was buried January 12, in Palmer, Tenn. In late November 1950, Schoenmann and 'elements of the 31st Regimental Combat Team were deployed along the eastern banks of the Chosin Reservoir, in North . Korea. Schoenmann was reported missing in action on December 12, 1950, after his unit and U.S. positions were encircled and attacked by the Chinese People's Volunteer Forces. In 1950, a returning American who had survived the attack reported that Schoenmann had been killed in action on November 28, 1950, as a result of sniper wounds. In 1953, that conclusion was amended when an American, who was held as a prisoner of war, told U.S. officials that Schoenmann was wounded by a sniper but not mortally, held captive by the Chinese on December 2, 1950, and died shortly thereafter from malnutrition and lack of medical care. Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea gave the United States 208 boxes of human remains believed to contain the remains of 200-400 U.S. servicemen. North Korean documents, turned over with some of the boxes, indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the area where Fuqua was believed to have died in 1950, near the Ch'ongch'on River; and where Schoenmann was last seen. To identify the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence, and forensic identification tools such as dental comparisons, mitochondrial DNA which matched Fuqua's brother. Using modem technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials. Today, more than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Identifications continue to be made from the remains that were returned to the United States, using forensic and DNA technology.
VA HEALTH CARE Insist Congress sufficiently funds the Department of Veterans Affairs so it can continue to provide the highest quality care to all eligible wounded, ill and injured veterans. • Push VA to implement evidence-based solutions to the mental and behavioral health challenges veterans face, and correct shortfalls at VA in providing needed care for those suffering. • Ensure Congress prioritizes and fully funds VA research to prevent, diagnose and treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries, traumatic vision and hearing injuries, and other injuries disproportionately affecting current conflict veterans. • Urge Congress to keep women's issues at the forefront, and to continually improve and expand access to VA programs and services. • Oppose all efforts to curtail the health care provision for service connected veterans by protecting Category 7 and 8 veterans from any reduction or elimination in services or increase in copayments. • Provide adequate funding to administer necessary and proper maintenance on all VA facilities. Suicides & Homelessness • Address the national crisis of 18 veterans and. one service member committing suicide every d'ay. ·by en suring that Congress properly funds Department of Defense and VA crisis awareness and support programs. • Push Congress to provide VA with funds necessary to end veteran homelessness by 2015. • Require Congress to continue providing proper oversight by increasing per diem rates where necessary, and providing education and career training opportunities alongside Department of Labor and other relevant agencies. • Strengthen efforts to prevent both suicide and homelessness by making mental health services and substance abuse treatments an urgent priority. • Ensure permanent housing solutions are available for all homeless veterans, especially female veterans with children. DEFENSE & HOMELAND SECURITY • Fully support U.S. troops and their mission to prosecute the war on terrorism, as well as to protect our nation's citizens and interests around the world. • Ensure defense funding fully supports personnel Quality of Life initiatives, troop end strength requirements, and needed weapons systems development and replacement programs. • Halt the development and/or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, while continuing to develop and deploy a ballistic missile defense system to protect the U.S. and our allies. • Secure America's borders from all threats, foreign and domestic, and identify and deport illegal aliens who commit crimes. QUALITY OF LIFE FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL • Oppose all proposals to change the current military retirement program or increase TRICARE enrollment fees and co-payments on military retirees and military families.
• Call on Congress to remain fully committed to improving all Quality of Life programs for active duty and Reserve Component service members and their families. • Support full concurrent receipt of military retirement pay and VA disability compensation without offset, and regardless of the rating percentage. • Support efforts to lower the Reserve Component retirement pay age to 55. POWIMIA • Achieve the fullest possible accounting of U.S. military personnel missing from all wars. • Ensure the U.S. government keeps the POW/MIA issue elevated as a national priority. • Urge the President and Congress to fully fund the requested amounts for all organizations involved in the Full Accounting Mission, and to protect the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command budget from being redirected by U.S. Pacific Command or reduced by the Department of Defense. To also keep the U.S. Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs intact with funding and personnel. VA COMP. AND BENEFITS • Urge Congress to use its funding and oversight authority to require the Veterans Benefits Administration to reduce the claims backlog while improving the overall ratings quality. • Work to pass legislation in Congress that offers workable solutions, intent on enhancing training and investing in the skills and knowledge of VA employees. • Require higher accountability and accuracy standards for processing claims. Demand that adjudicators provide veterans with a full explanation of VA's decision. • Demand proper oversight from Congress as VA installs an IT infrastructure that will help transform the agency into a 21st century operation. A timely, accurate claim should be what every veteran, service member and eligible family member receives. SEAMLESS TRANSITION • Demand the creation of one integrated electronic medical and service record that follows service members from the time they raise their right hand to the time they are buried in a national cemetery. • Ensure the military's new Transition Assistance Program offers information for transitioning service members and veterans, and that all relevant government agencies and veterans service organizations continue to serve as partners in the transition process. VETERANS EDUCATION & EMPLOYMENT • Ensure new programs to fight veteran unemployment succeed, and work with Congress to improve any shortcomings. • Close civilian licensing gaps for military professionals through federal and local legislation. • Protect veterans' employment resources by moving VETS from DOL to VA. • Fight to protect the G.I. Bill and ensure well informed veterans receive the quality education we promised them. • Support legislation that amends USERRA to preclude any binding arbitration agreement employers ask service members to sign. • Ensure the federal government upholds its responsibility to hire veterans
Mojave Cross, Stolen in 2010
Nov 07, 2012 San Jose Mercury by Eric Kurhi - More than two years after it vanished from its rocky perch in the Mojave Desert, a controversial cross reappeared Monday, wrapped up and zip-tied to a fence post along Highway 92 in San Mateo County. very grateful if "you would be so site in 1934 by the Veterans of kind as to notify the appropriate Foreign Wars to honor soldiers killed in World War I. Various authorities of its presence here." versions have been vandalized According to the San Mateo through the years, and the metal County Sheriff's Office, there is a one went up in the late 1990s. $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and convic- Federal courts previously ruled that the presence of the cross in a tion of those who stole it. national preserve was an unconThe cross is in good condition, stitutional violation of the separaaccording to a sheriff's office tion of church and state. news release. A Mojave Desert police officer who is familiar with After it vanished, the theft raised the cross was contacted, and he the ire of veterans groups and civil was able to confirm that the cross libertarians alike. is indeed the missing memorial.
The Mojave Cross was at the center of a Supreme Court case about whether the cross was an appropriate memorial for federal land: Two weeks after the court ruled to allow the 7-foot tall metal cross to remain on the land, it vanished in May 2010, prompting outrage from veterans groups that vowed The sheriff's office said it will to replace it. contact the San Francisco branch "This cross is an important his- of the National Park Service to torical artifact," read a note that take custody of the cross. was attached to the cross, which was' found along the road near The memorial was taken from Highway 35 by deputies acting where it stood atop a rock in the on a tip from a television news 1.6 million-acre Mojave National station. "It is in fact the Mojave Preserve, about 70 miles south of Cross, taken on the evening of Las Vegas. May 9, 2010, from Sunrise Rock in the Mojave Desert. I would be The first cross was erected at the
THE VFW LEADER
The Carolina Field of Honor, located on an 8-acre site donated by Guilford and Forsyth Counties in the heart of the Triad region of North Carolina has broken ground and started construction. It will be the largest veterans' memorial park in the country south of Washington, D.C. Past State Judge Advocate Al Edwards states that the dedication is projected for Veterans Day week. When completed, the memorial will honor all who serve in the Armed Forces. It will include a tribute to each branch of the service in a manner that remembers all who served in the military, pas, present, and future, along with key historical facts. A flag walk will explain the history of the growth of the United States starting with the 13 colonies. Also included will be an entertainment platform in an open air amphitheater design, where spring and summer concerts will perform to a projected thousands of spectators. A Parade Deck will provide a setting for the military, and other organizations like the Boys Scouts, county schools, law enforcement, and firefighters, to conduct a variety of patriotic ceremonies. A Meandering Walkway will tell the story of other important contributors to the nation's military history with monuments such as the Canine Corps, MIA/ PIA, Red Cross, Merchant Marine, and the like. The memorial can be supported with the purchase of a Remembrance Brick, to be used in the various memorial walkways. The buyer can specify a branch of service, and even the brick's location. The brick will have three lines of writing with a maximum of 16 characters a line. They can be purchased by visiting www.ncwmf.
Carolina Field of Honor Breaks Ground
org. Costs are $200.00 for a 4" x 8" brick, $500 for a 8" x 8" brick, and $2000 for a 16" x 16" brick and recognition on the bronze plaque donor wall at the park. The granite stone for the centerpiece of the memorial has been designed by the Mount Airy Granite Quarry. The goal of the memorial commission is $5,000,000, which they are close to reaching. Kernersville VFW Post 5352 has already collected and donated more than $5,600 to the project. The park is located on Mountain Street, close to where I-40 Business intersects. If one approaches the site from NC Highway 68 (the highway that our Convention hotel is on), turn at West Market Street towards Kernersville and Winston-Salem, which becomes Mountain Street. It is also close to the intersection of Mountain Street and Sandy Ridge Road.
Shipping Smiles, Love to Soldiers Deployed Overseas
LOUISBURG /Families of deployed North Carolina National Guard soldiers are able to have their care packages mailed to their loved ones in part through ingenuity and dedication of other soldiers like Staff Sgts. Aaron and Amanda Jones. Amanda is able to send large lots of packages, helping families avoid shipping costs. She ships the packages directly to her husband, who distributes them among the soldiers of 5th Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment, who have been deployed to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt since October of 2012. They have distributed more than 1,000 packages since the deployment began. "We started this back in December," Amanda said. Families will show up in groups, supporting each other, as they drop off packages. "We're like one big family now," she said. Along with building close bonds among the families, the shipping system has become a way for the families to more easily put a smile on their soldiers' faces. "There are several families who couldn't really afford to continuously send care packages," Jones said. "They are thrilled to have the opportunity to put together their own care packages and send it over." All of the work Jones has put into ensuring the deployed Guardsmen have something to look forward to is worth the sweat. "If I can help out one family or one soldier overseas to put a smile on his or her face over there, then to me, it's all worth it," said Jones. The packages have been taking approximately one month to reach the soldiers, deployed to the Sinai Peninsula. Jones intends for the last shipment of packages to be sent to the soldiers in June. The soldiers are scheduled to return to North Carolina by the fall of 2013. Army Staff Sgt. Kelsey Blankenship Reprinted from the NC Dept. of Safety's internet magazine, "On The Scene." Sgt. Amanda Jones is a member of Ladies Auxiliary of Wake Forest Post 8466.
Local Sisters Reunite in Afghanistan
Miles sisters graduated from Hiwassee Dam, before joining Air Force By DWIGHT OTWELL The Cherokee County sisters, who played about every sport available to girls at Hiwassee Dam High School, were reunited in Afghanistan, where they serve in different U.S. Air Force units. Staff Sgt. Danna (Miles) Pash, 25, and Capt. Randi (Miles) Ludington, 31, had the opportunity to get together in Bagram, Afghanistan, on April 13, then again on April 24. The Miles family moved to the Ranger community in 1994. Betsy Miles-three daughters went to Ranger Elementary /Middle School and then to Hiwassee .Dam High School, where they all excelled in sports. 'They played volleyball, basketball, softball and cross country," Miles said. 'They played everything they could. They gave it their all. They were good at every sport they tried." Pash played basketball, softball, volleyball, cross country and track. She graduated in 2006 "I excelled the most at track, even though basketball was my favorite because everyone always came out to watch the ball games," Pash said. "I went to state level three out of four years for track and field." Ludington played basketball softball and cross country. and graduated in 2000. "I was the offensive and defensive player of the yea* in softball my senior year," Ludington said. "I won first or second place in all my cross country meets while in high school." Ludington earned a business degree at Western Carolina University, then joined the Air Force. She went through Officer's Training School. Pash enlisted after one year in college. Ludington is on a 365-day deployment to Kabul, Afghanistan, and is assigned to U.S. Forces Afghanistan. She is the commander's Emergency Response Program manager for Afghanistan, Miles said. Her duties include providing guidance and oversight for a $200 million program to include staff asisted visits and inspection at each regional command across Afghanistan. Ludington coordinates the review and approval of-high level projects up to U.S. Central Command and the Office of Secretary of Defense. Pash is serving a short-notice deployment, having deployed to Afghanistan in March to fill in for an injured teammate. She is assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, Delta Sector Spartans. Her duties include searching vehicles and personnel for the largest entry control point at Bagram. Vehicles and personnel are X-rayed for suicide vests and vehicle bombs before they enter the base, Miles said. She is scheduled to come home at the end of the month. Capt. Ludington married Brad Ludington in July. Her home base is in Dayton, Ohio. Ludington was in the military but now works in finance. They have no children yet, Pash married Chandler, who is a master sergeant in the Air Force. They met in the service. She is stationed in Mountain Home, Idaho. They have one child together, Miles Pash, who is almost 2 years old. She also has two step children - Tristin and Savannah. In addition, a middle sister, Michele Miles, 28, is a probation and parole officer working in Murphy. She also played multiple sports at Hiwassee Dam. She has a daughter, Braylee, 8. Miles has worked in customer service for Snap-on Tools in Murphy for seven years. "I was in the Air Force and their father, Mike Miles, retired from the Air Force," Miles said." We were happy for (Air Force daughters). It was a good life." ''While attending Hiwassee Dam High School, I enjoyed the down home feeling of a small country "The Hiwassee Dam/Ranger area was a great place to grow' up," Pash said. "I loved how both town - especially the love of sports and incredible competition," Ludington said. schools were smaller and that you ' knew everyone. "It makes classmates grow together as they grow up through high school."
the "Keepin the Wheels Rollin for our Veterans" and doing it with a "Can Do" attitude. We are a TEAM promoting our membership and programs to the fullest. There should be NO "I can't do it" responses or attitudes if our quadruple amputees from these Iraq and Afghanistan wars can continue to Do it with a smile. One our own WWII Veterans still continues to DO it at age 97 by volunteering at the VA Hospital in Fayetteville. We also CAN DO! The will be 3 Flying Squadron Training schools again and all District and Auxiliary Presidents, Officers and chairmen and members are invited to attend. During this year my intent is to meet as many of our members as I can either at the Council Meetings, District Meetings and at Auxiliary Meetings. My promise is to visit as many as I can and participate in activities sponsored by the Auxiliary as my schedule will allow. We have an exciting VFW Store in the Department which I encourage you to utilize. They can find most any item you wish. With a revival of the Historian Chairman and a new Chairman in which I totally believe in, that of Mentorship, the Membership Team has worked hard to get new ideas to help with your membership issues. They are a Team that works together, and have planned many different things to promote membership. In 1795 Sir William taught us that the 3 R's meant Reading, Writing and Arithmetic - NOT - for us it means RECRUIT, RETAIN AND RENEW membership. See YA, God Bless ... Penny Cacoulidis, State President
THE VFW LEADER
Auxiliary Erline Mayberry Scholarships Announced
Sisters: "Thank You" for your vote of confidence in my ability to lead this Department by electing me as your President for the ensuing year. I will represent you all to the best of my ability. By now you have had the opportunity to look at the Department Program Disk and see what an exciting year the Line Officers and Chairmen have planned for you. Check out the Department Auxiliary web site for all the latest information. My promise to you is, as it says in our installation oath "I will faithfully and impartially discharge my duties to the best of my ability." I have promised to do just that. My intent this year is for all to be positive in attitude and leave negativity and petty grievances at the door of any Auxiliary room, so we can continue to work for the Veteran which is the reason you joined our great organization. This year is dedicated to the Military Heroes of my family, as we promote
William G. Anderson
Sean P. Bennett
Jasmine U. Cooper
The Ladies Auxiliary, Department of North Carolina, has announced three Erline Mayberry Scholarship winners for 20122013. They are William G. Anderson of West End, Sean P. Bennett of San Diego, California, and Jasmine U. Cooper of Gold Hill. Each winner will receive a $1000 scholarship during their freshman year in college. The Erline Mayberry Scholarship is named after the Department of North Carolina’s only Ladies Auxiliary National President, Erline Mayberry. They are selected each year by a special committee of Ladies Auxiliary, the criteria being the same as the VFW’s
Otis N. Brown and Billy Ray Cameron scholarships, the only difference being that the student does not have to attend college in the state of North Carolina. William Anderson is the son of Thomas and Kathleen Anderson of Wes End. Mr. Anderson is in the construction field and Mrs. Ander is an elementary school teacher assistant. William is eligible for the award under his grandmother, Ms. Madeline Buck. He plans to attend North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Sean Bennett is the son of Robert and Angela Bennett of San Diego, California.
He is a systems engineer with Anderson Audio Visual and she is a lead sales administrator with the Waxie Sanitary Supply Company. Sean is eligible for the scholarship under his grandmother, Ms. Ann Camp, of Columbus, North Carolina. He will attend school at San Diego State University in California. Jasmine U. Cooper is the daughter of Gregory Cooper of Gold Hill. Her father is a house builder with H.B.D. Industries. She is eligible for the award through her grandmother, as well, Ms. Linda Cooper. She plans to attend college at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Brevard Comrade's Memoir
By DEAN POLING THE VALDOSTA DAILY TIMES LAKE PARK – The subtitle draws readers immediately into area author Warren "Molly" Knight's book, "Co1d War Warrior: A Memoir. The subtitle reads: "From: Clerk Typist To: Spy To: U.S. Air Force First Sergeant." Describing himself as an All American Boy from North Carolina, the book shares Knight's work at the height of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union. As a Russian linguist in the United States Air Force Security Service, Warren Knight bore witness to the construction of the Berlin Wall, the U-2 incident, the Cuban Missile Crisis and an adversary's InterContinental Ballistic Missile test," according to information from the book. Knight shares stories of assignments to a listening post on the Far East island as well as a jungle survival course in the Phillipines. He joined the military in 1951 & served in the Korean War . For the next 26 yeats, until the late 1970s he served as an Air Force "intelligence asset." He blends personal history with national and world history in a readable, compelling, you are there style. He wanted to write the book now because Knight finally felt like he could share his experiences. "As I said in the book, a young leaves home for military service and through various turns of events finds himself flying in recon-planes in hostile environments, and he can't even tell his mom and dad what he's doing," Knight says. Older readers will be reminded of the Cold
War's perils while younger readers will come to better understand them. "The Cold War was far more dangerous than most people realize," Knight told The Times. "Never before or since has the whole world been on the brink of total annihilation. For decades, the U.S. and the Soviet Union stood toe to toe, each holding devastating explosives with very short fuses. It is nothing short of miraculous that the Cuban Missile Crisis did not see the use of nuclear weapons." Yet, even amidst the danger, Knight shares stories of a young man discovering the thrills of life, and the passion for being involved. "Flying was the thrill of a lifetime," he says. "We were in customized aircraft containing the most sophisticated aerial reconnaissance equipment in the world, flying in places that were jam packed with air defenses bent on taking us out. There were 12 shoot downs by the Soviet of U.S. recon during the period of the Cold War". As for what event had the most impact on him, given the vast panorama of history and personal situations, it's impossible to say. "I was witness to so much history – the construction of the Berlin Wall, Soviet nuclear tests, the crisis in Cuba, the U-2 incident the loss of friends in fatal crashes, Vietnam," Knight says, "How does one pick from such a list?" Now 81 Knight moved to Lake Park in June 2003. His wife, Ellen was from Valdosta, she passed away Feb. 11, 2003. His military service defined his career: "Serving my country for nearly 30 years was singular honor," Knight says. "Nothing else in my lifetime compares."
THE VFW LEADER
N.C. VFW to Support The All American Ride & Glide Event
The Department of North Carolina's Council of Administration approved a motion to support the upcoming All American Ride and Glide event, to occur on 2 November in Wake Forest. The support will include communicating the event to the comrades, Auxiliary sisters, and Auxiliary brothers, and urging the posts to put the event on their calendars. The Department will not contribute funds for the event, but posts are allowed to help fund it from their Relief Fund if they desire to do so. The idea for the event got started by a group called the Wake Forest Veterans Memorial. Its original intent was merely to maintain the veterans' memorial site in Wake Forest, but their focus is now on soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who have lost limbs to lED's and other combat causes. The Memorial group is concerned that mobility for limbless veterans is an issue that will not heal and does not get better. Fatigue is an issue with these veterans, and covering long distances is still out of range for many of them. The organization's answer to this problem is to issue SEGWAY moving devices to deserving veterans. Segway devices allow for fast, long range, all weather, all terrain navigation and has a zero turning radius. Riders can stand upright on the Segway, holding on the shoulder-level handlebars. The problem with the issuance of the device to deserving veterans is that it was not designed and is not designated as a medical device. Therefore, it is not able to paid for by medical insurance, benefits, or any type of government grant, to include VA. The device enables disabled veterans to stand up and move about at the same head level as normal people, instead of being confined to a sitting position in a wheelchair or electric cart. Each Segway costs about $10,000. Supporting this event along with the VFW are organizations that include the Hendrick Automotive Group, Golden Corral restaurants, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, the Whitley Law Form, and Segs4Vets, a charity with similar goals. Major General Bert Maggart, former Executive Vice President of RTI International, has signed on to assist with strategic planning. Posts are encouraged to communicate with the Memorial's action officer, Mr. Lester Burleson, at les.burleson@gmail.
Legendary Veteran Plumley Dies at 92
Columbus, Georgia, Associated Press Basil L. Plumley, a renowned career soldier whose exploits as an Army infantryman were portrayed in a book and the movie "We Were Soldiers", has died at 92 - an age his friends are amazed that he lived to see. Plumley fought in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam and was awarded a medal for making five parachute jumps into combat. The retired command sergeant major died Wednesday. Friends said Plumley, who died in hospice care in west Georgia, never told war stories and was known to hang up on people who called to interview him. Still, he was near legendary in the Army - and - gained more widespread fame through a 1992 Vietnam War book that was the basis for the 2002 movie starring Mel Gibson. Actor Sam Elliott played Plumley in the film. Plumley didn't need a Hollywood portrayal to be revered among soldiers, said Greg Camp, a retired Army colonel and former chief of staff at neighboring Fort Benning who befriended Plumley in his later years. "He's iconic in military circles," Camp said. "Among people who have been in the military, he's beyond what a movie star would be and his legend permeates three generations of soldiers." Debbie Kimble, Plumley's daughter, said her father died from cancer after spending about nine days at Columbus Hospice. Although the illness seemed to strike suddenly, Kimble said Plumley's health had been declining since his wife of 63 years, Denisee Plumley, died last May on Memorial Day. A native of Shady Spring, West Virginia, Plumley enlisted in the Army in 1942 and ended up serving 32 years in uniform. In World War II, he fought in the Allied invasion of Italy at Salerno and the D-Day invasion at Normandy. He later fought with the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment in Korea. In Vietnam, Plumley served as sergeant major - the highest enlisted rank in the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment. "That puts him in the rarest of clubs," said journalist Joseph L. Galloway, who met Plumley while covering the Vietnam War for United Press International and remained lifelong friends with him. "To be combat infantry in those three wars, in the battles he participated in, and to have survived...that is miraculous." It was during Vietnam in November 1965 that Plumley served in the Battle of la Drang, the first major engagement between the U.S. Army and North Vietnamese forces. That battle was the basis for the book "We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young", written nearly three decades later by Galloway and retired Lt. Gen. Hal G. Moore, who had been Plumley's battalion commander in Vietnam. In the 2002 film version, Mel Gibson played Moore and Elliott played Plumley. Galloway said several of Elliott's gruff one-liners in the movie were things Plumley actually said, such as the scene in which a soldier tells the sergeant major good morning and is told: "Who made you the (expletive) weather man?" "Sam Elliott underplayed him. He was actually tougher than that", Galloway said: "He was gruff, monosyllabic, an absolute terror when it came to enforcing standards of training." That's not to say he was mean or inhuman, Galloway said. "This was a man above all else who had a very big, warm heart that he concealed very well." Plumley retired with the rank command sergeant major in 1974 at Fort Benning, his last duty station. He then took a civilian job doing administrative work for the next 15 years at Martin Army Community Hospital. Camp said Plumley remained strong until just a few weeks before his death. He helped open the Army's National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning in 2009. Camp, who now works for the museum's fundraising foundation, said Plumley helped him get Elliott to come narrate a ceremony dedicating the parade ground outside the museum. When Camp mentioned the actor's name, Plumley handed him Elliott's cell phone number. After Plumley became ill, Galloway mentioned his worsening condition on Facebook. Fans of the retired sergeant major responded with a flood of cards and letters. The day before he died in hospice, Camp said, Plumley received about 160 pieces of mail. "He was dad to me when I was growing up," said Kimble, Plumley's daughter. "We are learning every day about him. He was an inspiration to so many. He was a great person, and will always be remembered."
com. Registration for the Ride and Glide is at www.sportoften.com, keyword search "All American." Post support could include donations from the Relief Fund, communicating to its members, showing up for the actual event with cap on Saturday, 2 November in Wake Forest, and possibly participating in the 30-60-100 mile bike ride.
Veterans Retraining Benefits
According to the VA, over 94,000 veterans have applied for Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) education benefits. To date, the VA has approved over 77 ,000 Certificates of Eligibility. However, just over 27,000 of those eligible veterans have begun using their benefits. The VA is encouraging veterans to finish the process and get enrolled in eligible education programs as soon as possible. A VA official recently stated, "We do not want any of the 99,000 slots to go unused. The program is only two years long. By law, we can only accept applications until September 30, 2013, and the last payment can be made through March 31, 2014." VRAP participants that do not enroll in school by March of this year will not be able to receive a full 12 months of training. VRAP participants are being warned that they must apply and begin using their benefits as soon as feasible, or, notify the VA to cancel their Certificate of Eligibility to make room for other veterans to use the benefit. VRAP GI BILL FACTSHEET The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) GI Bill offers up to 12 months of Montgomery GI Bill benefits for older unemployed veterans. Unemployed veterans between the age of 35 and 60 may apply for education benefits worth as much as $17,600 ($1,473 a month). This new GI Bill program was created as a part of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011. be drawing VA compensation due to unemployability. • Not be enrolled in a federal or state job training program.
Here's what you should know about the new VRAP before you apply: • This benefit can only be used to earn an Associate Degree, NonCollege Degree, or a Certificate, ,and train you for a high demand occupation • According to the VA, the program should begin processing VRAP benefits on July 1,2012. • This new benefit will be limited to 45K vets in FY2012 and 54K from October 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. • Once you have completed the VRAP To be eligible for the VRAP GI Bill education program, the Dept. of you must: • Be at least 35 but no Labor will provide employment more than 60 years old. • Be unem- assistance. ployed (as determined by DoL). • Not have a dishonorable discharge. Be sure to visit the http://benefits. • Not be eligible for any other VA va. gov /vow /education.htm to learn education benefit program. • Not more and apply.
Veterans Memorial of Macon County
Time line of all US Wars Come visit the memorial on its Park for many years, located just south of Franklin on US 441, and it fourth Anniversary! really had not been formally named. A new destination has been created The Committee found part of it to in Western North Carolina in the be just right for a Memorial. The past seven years. Covering 2/3 of Commissioners were asked to meet an acre makes it an awesome sight with them at the park to get their to see. The Veterans Memorial of approval to proceed with plans to Macon County was built to honor all build. Veterans of all the Wars. It was born in the minds of a few veterans who At the next Commissioners meethad been wanting to see a memorial ing, they asked the Commissioners especially created to honor those to rename the park, "The Veterans Memorial Recreation Park," and to who gave their all for our country. provide necessary funds to begin. In the early months of 2007, a small group of veterans came together at Funds from the Town of Franklin the VFW Post 7339 in Franklin and and the Town of Highlands came discussed with one of the county later. Am. Legion Post 108 and VFW commissioners about the possibility Post 7339 also provided funds. Since of building a memorial. They were then all funds have come from the given the go ahead to come up with community and individuals from all a proposal. Out of that meeting, over the country. a group of 12 volunteer veterans formed a committee. This commit- The hard work to decide what was tee then decided where they would to be done began. Ideas floated and like to build it. a search was done to consider other memorials and what they had done Macon County has had a Recreational to Honor veterans. An architect vol-
Frag Circle unteered to come up with a print using the ideas that the committee thought would work. With this preliminary plan, the project began. Groundbreaking was held on D Day 2007. Work began shortly thereafter. The land was in a flood plain and this required raising the plot 4 feet higher. equipment for the entire project was In the center, the US Flag flies high over a large granite pedestal topped furnished free of charge. with a giant granite Eagle facing the The rear area has the time line of main entrance. plaques of all our wars. Honor Bricks of those from Macon County Dedication was held on July 4,2009. who were killed in action beginning Over 200 volunteers worked on this with WWI to present are laid along project. Most were members of VFW the walkway. Also, a flag pole honors Post 7339, Am. Legion Post 108 and KIA/MIA/POW Veterans with POW The Sons of the Legion. Many others A wall was built and it took 465 Honor Bricks placed at the base of were sons of veterans. It is truly a truckloads of dirt to bring the area the pole. This area also has a plaque community built Memorial and is a up to grade. Most of this was done honoring all GOLD STAR families. tribute to the spirit of love that the by volunteers. All underground community has for its Veterans. work was completed and concrete Around the main circle flags of all slabs were poured. The walkways the Services, including the Merchant Visit it at anytime. It is always open were done by alternating concrete Marine Flag, head up the walkways to the public. Honor Bricks can be and old bricks that had been around to the large granite monuments with purchased at any time. the county courthouse. sculptured marble slabs mounted on them honoring those in each of the At present an effort is being made to A local timber frame company services. Along side of these walk- raise more funds for the continued and their employees volunteered ways are the Honor Bricks of those maintenance. For more information to design and build and erect the who have served in that branch of go to the internet at www.veteransmemorialmaconcounty.org. Gazebo. For the roof, two 160-year- service. old red oak trees from the US Forest Service were felled, 4,000 shakes for There are over 2,500 so honored at the roof were made by volunteers, present. Many of those have never and the local Habitat group stained been to or lived in Macon County. and finished it. All construction
THE VFW LEADER
THE VFW LEADER
VA Expedites Claims
WASHINGTON The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today it is implementing an initiative to expedite compensation claims decisions for veterans who have waited one year or longer. Effective today, VA claims raters will make provisional decisions on the oldest claims in inventory, which will allow veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits more quickly, if eligible. Veterans will be able to submit additional evidence for consideration a full year after the provisional rating, before V A issues a final decision. "Too many Veterans wait too long for a decision, and this has never been acceptable," said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. "That is why we are implementing an aggressive plan to eliminate the backlog in 2015. This initiative is the right thing to do now for veterans who have waited the longest." Provisional decisions will be based on all evidence provided to date by the Veteran or obtained on their behalf by VA. If a VA medical examination is needed to decide the claim, it will be ordered and expedited. "Issuing provisional decisions not only provides Veterans with applicable benefits much more quickly but also gives them an additional one-year safety net to submit further evidence should it become available. Our door will remain open and if a veteran has additional evidence, their case will be fast tracked," said Allison Hickey, undersecretary for benefits. If any increase is determined to be warranted based on the additional evidence received, benefits will be retroactive to the date the claim was initially filed. The initiative protects the veteran's right to appeal the decision. If no further evidence is received within that year, VBA will inform the Veteran that their rating is final and provide information on the standard appeals process, which can be found at www.bva.va.gov/. Throughout this initiative, VA will continue to prioritize claims for homeless veterans and those claiming financial hardship, the terminally ill, former Prisoners Of War, Medal of Honor recipients, and veterans filing Fully Developed Claims. More information about filing Fully Developed Claims is available at: www.benefits. va. gov /transformation/fastclaims. Claims for Wounded Warriors separating from the military for medical reasons will continue to be handled separately and on a priority basis with the Department of Defense through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). Wounded Warriors separating through IDES currently receive VA compensation benefits in an average of 61 days following their separation from service. As a result of this initiative, metrics used to track benefits claims will experience significant fluctuations. The focus on processing the oldest claims will cause the overall measure of the average length of time to complete a claim - currently 286 days - to skew, rising significantly in the near term because of the number of old claims that will be completed. Over time, as the backlog of oldest claims is cleared and more of the incoming claims are processed electronically through VA's new paperless processing system, VA's average time to complete claims will significantly improve. in addition, the average days pending metric - or the average age of a claim in the inventory - will decrease, since the oldest claims will no longer be part of the inventory. While compensation claims are pending, eligible Veterans are able to receive healthcare and other benefits from V A. Veterans who have served in recent conflicts are eligible for 5 years of free healthcare from VA. Currently, over 55% of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are using VA healthcare, a rate of utilization greater than previous generations of veterans. Veterans can learn more about disability benefits on the joint Department of Defense- VA web portal eBenefits at www.ebenefits.va.gov/ ebenefits-portallebenefits.portal.
The newly renovated and painted VFW State Recruiting Trailer is available for sign out and pick up by contacting the State VFW Headquarters at 919-828-5058. It comes complete with recruiting documents & Patriotic Giveaways.
THE VFW LEADER
THE VFW LEADER
Stolen Valor Act
Stolen Valor Act Passes Congress! of Honor, service crosses, Silver Star, VFW-supported legislation now heads Purple Heart, and combat badges such as the Combat Infantryman's Badge, to president Combat Action Badge, Combat WASHINGTON (May 23, 2013) - The Medical Badge, Combat Action national commander of America's larg- Ribbon and Combat Action Medal. est and oldest major combat veterans The maximum punishment under the organization is applauding Congress bill would be a $100,000 fine and up this week for passing the Stolen Valor to one year in jail for each offense. Act of2013, which now heads to the "The VFW is very pleased with White House for the president's sig- Congressman Heck and Senator Heller and all their co-sponsors," said nature. Hamilton, who served in Vietnam as a John E. Hamilton, a triple Purple Marine Corps rifleman. "We want all Heart recipient who leads the Veterans con artists to pay a very severe penalty of Foreign Wars of the United States, - and a very public price - for daring said Congress followed the road map to steal the valor of those too few who laid out by the U.S. Supreme Court survived and of the great many who when they overturned the Stolen Valor did not." Act of 2005 last year. In their writings, the high court suggested any future ABOUT THE VFW: The Veterans of legislation had to be narrower in focus Foreign Wars of the U.S. is a nonthan just to penalize people for simple profit veterans' service organization lying, which they ruled as protected composed of combat veterans and eligible military service members from speech in a 6-3 decision. the active, Guard and Reserve forces. "Now the new language is bul- Founded in 1899 and chartered by let-proof," said Hamilton, "because Congress in 1936, the VFW is the the focus is on the intent to profit nation's largest organization of war from the lie, to obtain money, proper- veterans and its oldest major veterans' ty or something of a tangible benefit, organization. With almost 2 million which is what con artists have been members located in more than 7,200 VFW Posts worldwide, "NO ONE doing throughout history." DOES MORE FOR VETERANS. The VFW-supported legislation was "The VFW and its Auxiliaries are dedintroduced by Rep. Joe Heck and Sen. icated to veterans' service, legislative Dean Heller, both from Nevada. H.R. advocacy, and military and commu258 passed overwhelmingly in the nity service programs worldwide. For House on Monday by a vote of 390-3. more information or to join, visit our The Senate passed its companion, S. website at www.vfw.org. 210, last night by unanimous consent. Not every combat award is covered, Contact: Joe Davis, Director of Public but the ones most worn by wannabe Affairs, VFW Washington Office, (0) heroes will be protected once the bill 202-608-8357, email@example.com. becomes law. Protected are the Medal
West Brunswick High School Army JROTC cadets receive the VFW's coveted Voice of Democracy medals from Calabash Post 7288 Commander Ray Ketchum and Senior Vice Commander George Bissette. The cadets are Joseph Hurst, Allison Childrers, and Bre Macadoo.
Calabash Post 7288 honors World War II veteran and former U.S. Army Air Force POW Pat Patterson, shot down over Germany. The featured Memorial Day speaker was Colonel Trevor Brendenkamp, Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team.
Comrades of Calabash Post 7288 distribute Buddy Poppies at the Food Lion on Highway 17 in Little River SC. Poaching on the gronds of the VFW Department of South Carolina, but in a great cause! Shown here are Frank Pinkerton and Mark Mason, thanking a donating citizen.
THE VFW LEADER
Members of Summerfield Post 7999 at the town's annual Founder's Day Parade. On the left is Commander Roy Lee, in the center is NC Congressman Howard Coble, and then other comrades of the post, dressed in various uniforms. The VFW float won first place in the parade for Most Patriotic.
Veterans Claims & Benefits Update
This information is provided by the Department's Veterans Service program, which helps veterans and survivors file VA claims. Call State HQ at ((919)828-5058 or visit www. vfwnc.org for the nearest VFW Service Office. VA FIDUCIARY PROGRAM? The VA Fiduciary Program protects veterans and beneficiaries who are unable to manage their VA benefits through the appointment and oversight of a fiduciary. If you have been determined unable to manage your VA benefits, the VA conducts a field examination to appoint a fiduciary to assist you. THE VA FIELD EXAMINATION A VA field examination will be scheduled to appoint a fiduciary to assist you in managing your VA benefits. During the field examination, please have the following information available for review by the field examiner: Photo identification, The source and amount of all monthly bills, recurring expenses (annual, biannual, quarterly, etc.), and income • A list of all assets, to include bank accounts, owned property, stocks, bonds, life insurance, burial plans, etc. fiduciary selection is based on an assessment of the qualifications of the proposed fiduciary. When seeking a fiduciary the following individuals may be considered: A spouse or family member Court-appointed fiduciaries Another interested party, or A professional fiduciary An assessment of the qualifications of a proposed fiduciary includes, but is not . limited to: • The willingness to serve and abide by all agreements • An interview with a VA representative • Credit report review • An inquiry into the criminal background, and • Interviews with character witnesses.
Governor Pat McCrory gives Kannapolis Post 8989 Commander Larry Brown a hug at the Kannapolis Veterans Park Dedication.
Comrades and Ladies of Kannoplis Post 8989 host a luncheon after the dedication ceremony of the opening of the Kannapolis Veterans Park. In the background is then State Commander Ted Briggs.
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS? The determination that you are unable to manage your benefits does not affect your non-VA finances, or your right to vote or contract. You have the right to appeal VA's decision finding that you are unable to manage your VA benefits. You have the right to appeal VA's selection of the fiduciary. If you disagree with the VA on either of these matters you may: • Appeal to the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board) by telling us you disagree with our decision and want the Board to review it, or • Give evidence we do not already have that may lead us A list of all current medica- to change our decision. tions Name, phone number, and address of your prima- GUN RIGHTS ry care doctor; and • Name, The Brady Handgun Violence phone number, and address of Prevention Act prohibits you from purchasing, possessyour next of kin ing, receiving or transporting a firearm or ammunition if SELECTION PROCESS During the selection process, you have "been adjudicated the VA will first seek to qualify as a mental defective or been the individual you desire to committed to a mental instiserve as your fiduciary. The tution."
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